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THESE LETTERS AND poems are invaluable fragments of a living conversation that portrays the indomitable power in humans to stay alive in the face of certain death — to stay alive even in death. Reading through the treasure trove of the letters and poems compiled here as The Last Writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa evoked such intense memories of his resolute struggles against an oil behemoth and a deaf autocratic government. His crusade frames one of the most tumultuous periods of Nigeria’s history; his tragic story evokes anger and demands action to resolve the crises that first led the Ogoni people to demand that Shell clean up Ogoni or clear out of the territory. It was his leadership, in great part, that forced Shell out of Ogoni in January 1993.

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  • ISBN ebook: 978-1-988832-04-3 (electronic) 978-1-988832-03-6 (ebook)
  • Publication date: 13 October 2017
  • Binding type: Online for FREE
  • Language: English
  • Colour: Colour
  • Print book available from: FREE download at
  • E-pub available from: “Silence Would be Treason: Last Writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa”, free ebook edition now available from
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Edited by Ide Corley, Helen Fallon, Laurence Cox

The new and expanded edition includes additional materials from the Ken Saro-Wiwa Archives at Maynooth University Library.

The complete new edition is available online at  for FREE.

An e-Pub version of the new edition is also available from the Ken Saro-Wiwa Archives at Maynooth University Library and can be downloaded for free – but we would strongly encourage you to donate to the Archives.

A unique collection of the last writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa that reveals the indomitable mind and spirit of the legendary campaigner for justice in the last months before his execution.

The letters and poems collected here are the last writings of a man on trial for his life. They were smuggled out of military detention in food baskets.. Nigerian author and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, facing execution by the military regime on trumped-up charges, corresponded extensively with Irish nun and solidarity worker Majella McCarron during the last 18 months of his life. Clear and direct, these letters and poems are the last expression of a voice the regime was determined to silence: a voice for indigenous rights, environmental survival and democracy, many of whose battles were won despite his death and whose voice comes alive today again in these extraordinary letters.

Saro-Wiwa was a leading figure in the world of Nigerian and African letters, as novelist, playwright, non-fiction writer, author of children’s books and television writer. He was also a major figure in Nigerian politics, when his support for the autonomy of his own, indigenous Ogoni people led to his removal from office. Following this Saro-Wiwa threw himself into business to provide the financial basis for the movement which from 1990 took the shape of MOSOP, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People. MOSOP raised not only the issue of indigenous autonomy but also that of environmental survival in the face of massive oil and gas extraction in the Niger Delta and the associated oil leaks, gas flaring and other environmental crises threatening traditional livelihoods in the area. This was a direct challenge to those who benefitted from the situation: the oil and gas multinationals and the Nigerian military government.

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